As a nurse I have worked in a variety of different areas, but I love obstetrics. I love to see the joy of expectant mothers as they anticipate the arrival of their little ones. Many of you can relate to the moment your baby was born. Waiting for the first cry as a sign that things are ok… looking the baby over… and despite a misshaped head and squished nose, they are the most perfect and beautiful thing you have ever seen.
I am the eldest of four children. When my brother Christopher was born, he too looked perfect on the outside, weighing a grand 9 lbs 4 oz. However, it wasn’t long after his birth that the doctors discovered a congenital heart defect. At three weeks of age he had major heart surgery. The church prayed and he was considered a miracle child. Not everything was fixed perfectly at that time, but he was able to do most normal things.
All children are special, but Christopher was extra special, and not just because of his condition. He could laugh easily. He was sensitive to others. He was positive and often got upset when his hospital roommates complained about the nurses. He had empathy to those who were sick and hurting and would pray for them by name.
He was also a talented child. He wanted to be a helicopter pilot and could draw detailed parts of a helicopter by heart. I tell you all of this so you get a picture of how special this little boy was.
When Christopher was 10 years old, he needed another surgery. His heart was wearing out. It was his only chance for survival…
Bear with me as I put Christopher’s story on hold for a bit and move to the Christmas story.
At Christmas more than any other time of year we think about the night Jesus was born. I think about Mary at such a young age, about to deliver the son of God. I admire the love and devotion Mary had for her God to be willing to do whatever He wanted her to do. God chose my mother to care for a special child, and He chose Mary to mother an extra special child. Joseph, was also a special man to be chosen by God to be Jesus earthly father.
Like most parents, I’m sure they were nervous and excited. Not only was this baby about to change Mary and Joseph’s lives but He would change the world. I bet they never guessed their son would walk on water or heal the sick! He was born perfect and would remain perfect. Before He ever took His first breath, He was the promised Messiah for all people.
In His gospel, Luke says:
“He shall be great. Shall be called the Son of the Highest, the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever and His kingdom there will be no end.“ Luke 1:32-33
Jesus was born a king.
It’s hard to comprehend that Jesus, The King, the Saviour of the World, was born into poverty. Born to an unwed mother in a barn. No pomp, no palace, no crown. Just a manger where cattle fed.
If God wanted, he would have arranged for at least one room in the inn, but He chose for Jesus to enter this world in humble circumstances. Just like my brother could relate to the sick, Jesus can relate to the people of this world. The poor, the sick, the heavy hearted. He was born both God and man for a reason. So that everyone and anyone could relate to Him.
If you recall, my brother, Christopher, was going to need heart surgery. Like any child he didn’t want to have it done.
My family was reading the bible together the night before his surgery. It was a story of a blind man from John 9 :3. The disciples asked Jesus why was this man born blind? Jesus replied, “so that the works of God may be displayed in Him.“ Being a perceptive child, my brother asked, “is this why I have to have my surgery, to glorify God too? “
When I compare Christopher story to that of Jesus, I find similarities.
After his ministry, the time came for Jesus to fulfill the purpose for which He was born. Like Christopher, who didn’t want his surgery, Jesus didn’t really want to die on that cross. When He was in Garden of Gethsemane prior to His death, Matthew tells us that he fell on his face to the ground and prayed:
”My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
He was perfect. He didn’t deserve what He was about to face. He knew our imperfection and sin would not allow us the right relationship with God that we were created for. He was the only perfect one who was able to take on the consequences of our sin on our behalf.
Both Christopher and Christ submitted to and accepted God’s way. The only way.
When Jesus was born on that first Christmas so many years ago, He was born to die for you and me. Not one of us are perfect. We may not have the physical defects Christopher had, but each of us has a defeated heart due to sin. Jesus is the only person who can cover our defects and heal our hearts.
Christopher had his surgery, but there was no one here on earth who could fix his heart, so God chose to heal his heart by taking him to be with Jesus.
Just as God allowed Christopher to die, He allowed His own son to die to cover the defects in each one of us. He allowed His only son to die in our place because He loved us so much.
Not only did Christopher seem to understand his time was limited, but he understood his purpose. He had it right. He glorified God in his short life here on earth and over 30 years later his story is still used to glorify God.
We don’t always understand why God allows things to happen but Paul says in his letter to the church in Rome:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to his purpose.“ Romans 8:28
Christopher’s favourite songs were “Come on Ring Those Bells” and “I gotta tell somebody what Jesus did for Me”. At 10 years old he wanted others to know that Jesus died to save him and he wasn’t afraid to share it.
This Christmas, remember that the story of Jesus isn’t just about a small baby in a manger, but of a King. A King that was born not only to glorify His Father, but to live, die, and rise again to save each of us.
If you don’t know Jesus, He offers to stand in your place so your imperfections and sin can be 100% forgiven and forgotten. He already did what He needed to do for you. Jesus lived a perfect life and died so you can connect with the God who created you and loves you.
I am far from perfect, but I have accepted His offer. Now God looks at me through the lens of Jesus, and that’s who He sees… my perfect saviour.
I pray that we all take time to reflect this Christmas on the true meaning of the King who came to save us and that it draws us all closer to Him.
Come on Ring Those Bells
Everybody likes to take a holiday
Everybody likes to take a rest
Spending time together with the family
Sharing lots of love and happiness.
Celebrations come because of something good.
Celebrations we love to recall
Mary had a baby boy in Bethlehem
The greatest celebration of all.
Come on, ring those bells,
Light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the King
Born for you and me.
Come on, ring those bells,
Jesus, we remember
This your birthday